OAKLAND — We know everyone loves jumping to far-fetched conclusions after one preseason game, but let’s just highlight a couple top performers and a couple underachievers from Friday night’s action at the Coliseum for now.
The Raiders won, 16-10, and most of their starters only played one series. Now is the time for guys to state their claim for the 53-man roster, and some did just that while while others failed to seize their chance.
Here are three “studs” and three “duds” from Oakland’s first exhibition.
Chris Warren – The undrafted rookie running back faces an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster with a cluster of backs in front of him. Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington currently sit ahead of the former Texas Longhorn, but Friday the rookie stated a convincing case to jump one, if not two of his elders. Warren ran for 86 yards on 13 carries (6.6 yards per carry) and ran seven more times than Washington, the second-most-used back.
Warren not only lowered his head between the tackles, but his 6-foot-2, 246-pound frame maneuvered around the edge swiftly, too. Warren gained attention earlier this week for lowering his pads on 2017 first-round linebacker Jarrad Davis in joint practice, sending the Lions starter flying backward. Asked about the practice highlight after Friday’s game, Warren cited the “24-hour rule” of relishing in the play for a day before moving on.
“I like that guy, man,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said of Warren. “If you know anything about him, his dad was one heck of a player … He’s a hammer. He can really thump ya, and he’s got breakaway speed. He’s improving in the passing game. He’s becoming more and more of a running back instead of just a runner.”
P.J. Hall – The 2018 second-round pick had some catching up to do after beginning training camp on the PUP list with a pectoral strain, but Hall seems up to speed after a strong start to Friday’s game.
With Detroit facing a 3rd-and-5 on its opening drive, Hall sacked quarterback Matt Cassel for a nine-yard loss to force a punt. Later in the first quarter, he batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage on 2nd-and-20. Hall and fifth-round pick Maurice Hurst both had strong debuts, showing why the Raiders beefed up that defensive tackle spot in the draft after a lackluster year from the position in 2017.
Hall only stands 6-foot-1, but his quickness and ability to gain leverage with his smaller frame should provide him a chance to factor significantly on Oakland’s defensive line this season.
“It felt good to accomplish that. It was a great feeling,” Hall said of his sack, which came on his first NFL snap. “We know we need to have an interior rush. Coach had faith in me to go out there with the first team in the nickel to get it done, so I was excited to get that done.”
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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports